6 Awesome Apps You NEED to Start Your University Year With…

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6 Apps, I Would Use at University Today, What Are Your Recommendations?

Student using phone
Photo by Karolina Grabowska

University life can be a stressful experience, especially if you are in your first or final year of study. Trust me I’ve been there, I know! 

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be stressful! 

There are several ways to make your student experience less stressful and one of these ways is to become more organised. 

During my time at university, I discovered several apps which not only helped me become more organised but also helped me with research and writing my dissertation. I also have a few apps that I discovered after graduating, but think they will be extremely useful and beneficial to student life.

I decided to share 6 of my favourite apps, but please add yours in the comments section! I want to make this blog post into a resource that students and not only can use to discover new productivity apps!

But without any further ado, here are 6 apps that I think you need to start your university year with…

1. Notion

Yep, I know many of my long-term readers may be surprised to see Notion on this list after the blog post I wrote a while back. But here’s the thing, Notion proved to be an excellent tool for managing university life as well as taking notes and research.

I didn’t start using Notion until my second year at university, but I honestly regret not using it from the very beginning.

Not only was I able to organise all my work and research material into a pretty cool library, but I was also able to manage my student finances, schedule as well as a reading list. 

It was just so incredibly useful, and I was able to influence many other students to start using it themselves after they saw my workspace.

That’s the thing with Notion, it allows you to make some beautiful notes which are easy on the eye, making it easier to learn. You can also create some really cool databases that do some pretty cool stuff for you. 

There are countless resources available on YouTube, but my favourite one has got to be Thomas Frank, who has two YouTube channels that I seriously recommend checking out as a student, These are Thomas Frank and Thomas Frank Explains

If you don’t feel like setting up your own workspace, there are tons of templates you can use, many of which are built into Notion. Thomas Frank has some really cool templates, some of which I use myself to this day!

2. Google Keep

Google Keep is an app that I’ve been using for a very long time, and It’s also one that arguably helped me the most whilst writing big assignments as well as both of my dissertations.

The idea is to use a notebook app to write down ideas for your assignments as they come. I mean, let’s face it, sometimes ideas come during some of the most inconvenient times, You could be at work, out shopping, at the gym or even at the pub with your friends. Unless you write that idea down somewhere quickly, you will end up forgetting it!

That could be a really bad thing, especially if it was a very good idea!

The truth of the matter is that any notebook app is good for this, but the main reason I decided to use Google Keep for this was that it can be easily accessed from many devices including the browser, which meant that I had easy access when using lab or library computers.

Google Keep is still an app I use today for making quick notes and now that I am back on Android, I can make notes using my watch and my voice!

You can even use Google Keep to build your second brain, which is a concept I discovered thanks to Tiago Forte and his book “Building a Second Brain”. I honestly wish I discovered this when I was at university as it really does help! 

3. Bublup

Bublup is an app I started using a few months ago, mainly for content creation but also for a handful of other things. I think that it’s a brilliant app which brings a whole new way of managing URLs as well as files, notes, checklists and media.

It’s a perfect example of a tool that I wish I discovered sooner as it could have been a very useful tool for saving research material in one fun place.

I think it would also make a great area for collaborating with fellow students, I mean you could share a folder full of research material and then have them comment and interact with the material. Students can say whether the material is good or not, and comment main points and opinions.

If you ever need to share the URLs you’ve used with lecturers or professors, Bublup has this awesome feature which allows you to create a web page within minutes featuring everything inside of your folder. 

I find that it’s a really cool feature that really does make the items inside of your folder stand out.

Bublup has recently introduced a new feature called AI Creator which is great for research, I can simply create a folder for that topic, open AI Creator and go to the “Research” section. I then type the thing I want to research. 

For example, If I wanted to research the use of AI in industry, I would simply type that in and press “Create folder”, The AI will create a folder that contains research material for that topic which can be extremely useful for those times when you leave your assignment to the last minute.

Overall, a really good app, full of potential. Now I’m not sponsored by Bublup to write this, but I am leaving my referral link here. If you decide to sign up, we both bet extra storage!

4. Forest

This is a really good app and browser extension, that has helped me get through some of the toughest assignments and it’s also one I highly recommend downloading!

It’s essentially a Pomodoro timer app that helps you stay motivated by building a virtual forest, and the best part is that the app helps plant real trees!

In order for me to explain how the app works, you first need to understand the Pomodoro concept, which is pretty simple. 

Do you remember those kitchen timers that were in the shape of a tomato? The concept is to set one of those timers for 25 minutes and during those 25 minutes, you can’t do anything other than the task you set out do to. So say that you are writing a report, for 25 minutes, and you can’t check your phone or talk to someone, you can only do that one task.

Once those 25 minutes are up, you set the timer to a 5-minute break, preferably away from your desk.

Forest helps you stay motivated by building a virtual forest, Every time you start the timer, your tree will start growing, if you interrupt the timer, the tree will die and if you complete the timer the tree will grow into a healthy tree. Then after your 5-minute break, you start the timer again and a new tree will grow.

It’s a fun and interactive way to stay on top of things, I highly recommend checking this app out!

5. My Study Life

If you prefer to have your schedule and study planner in one handy app, My Study Life is a great choice!

I must admit, unlike the other apps, it’s been a while since I last used the app, but after downloading and checking it out today, it’s just as good as I remember it.

The app enables you to track your class schedule, your exams as well as your homework, it’s essentially a digitalised student planner.

I liked it for the fact that it was extremely simple to use and I could instantly access it without having to dig everything out.

Theoretically speaking, you can do something very similar in Notion, however even though I also had my class and exam schedules in Notion, I found My Study Life considerably faster and easier to use.

It doesn’t matter whether you are still at school, sixth form or university, the app works great regardless!

6. Galarm

The last app I wanted to mention in this list is Galarm, which is another app that is relatively new to me, but I can see the full potential of using it while at university.

Galarm is essentially a social alarm and reminders app that helps you, your friends and your family stay on top of things.

You can set the app to play an alarm on your phone and everybody that’s in your group.

I can definitely see the potential of using this app while at university. I mean say that you and your friends are going away for the long weekend. You want to set an alarm that will wake you and your friends up in plenty of time so that you don’t miss your ride to the airport.

It’s also great for productivity, especially if you are someone who needs that extra motivation to do some work. The app has the ability to set alarms to remind you to write a few paragraphs in your assignment.

It’s especially great for group work when working remotely. I mean, in life we don’t always get to choose who we work with and sometimes these people may live a long way away from you. Setting a group alarm as a reminder that you have a catch-up with your group can be extremely beneficial, especially if you have teammates who never remember when these sessions take place.

You can even instantly ring an alarm in your group to alert an important change. This could be an emergency catch-up because you’ve discovered that you’ve been doing something wrong or a change in venue if you decide to meet up in a cafe somewhere.

Overall, a great app that I use myself for when I need to be reminded of urgent tasks. I also tend to use it for travel.

Final Thoughts

The truth of the matter is that there are many apps that you can use to make your life at university easier and if I was to list all of them, I would have to write a book. 

That’s why I’m requesting that you add your favourite apps in the comments section of this blog post, As mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, I want it to become a resource for students and not only to find and discover great apps for productivity and making their student lives even better!